China Box Office: Theater Takings Rise 40 Percent in First Quarter (Report)

Chow Yun-Fat H 2014

Domestic movies made up over two-thirds of the showing, according to data from the research group Entgroup.

In the first three months of this year, Chinese box office takings rose to $1.53 billion (9.48 billion yuan), a rise of around 40 percent on the first quarter of 2014.

Entgroup data to March 29 showed that box office takings in February, which includes the key box office bonanza at Chinese New Year, were up 23 percent at $660 million.

In March receipts were $447 million this year, versus 261 million yuan last year.

Last year's box office take was just shy of $4.8 billion, and was boosted by a strong domestic performance and a monster showing by Transfers: Age of Extinction.

The ratio of domestic movies to foreign was 66:34 during the period.

Driving the rise in Chinese box office is a sharp rise in the number of screens on offer, with the figure currently standing at over 24,900.

The biggest film in the first quarter was Wong Jing's The Man from Macau 2, which took $157 million, while Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies took $123 million. This was followed by the historical action movie Dragon Blade, starring Jackie Chan, John Cusack and Adrien Brody, with $120 million, the Sino-French epic from Jean-Jacques Annaud, Wolf Totem, with $112 million and Big Hero 6 with $85 million.

There were 76 films officially released during the quarter, with 21 of them achieving a box office of more than 100 million yuan, or $16.14 million.

Looking ahead to the second quarter, Avengers: Age of Ultron has passed censorship in China, with the hotly anticipated Marvel tentpole starring Robert Downey Jr. set to be released on May 12, while Furious 7 should also give a boost to the data to June, in Hollywood's favor.